Our Wilding Weekend Was Wonderful! (Jun23)

It was tremendously exciting to get such positive feedback from visitors to our Wilding Weekend – some were ecstatic. It wasn’t just about the wilding we’ve done – they loved meeting other like-minded people and finding out more about what wilding might mean for them.

As many of you will know not everyone has the same idea about wilding or rewilding as it is also known. Is it simply a matter of letting ‘weeds’ grow? Should we be embracing the docks, nettles and thistles? Why is yellow rattle so important? Should ragwort be embraced or pulled out and burned? How can we encourage insects but grow vegetables? What wildlife have we managed to attract? Why is it an eco-crime to use peat in our gardens. We covered these issues and many more.

This is a five-minute video about the Wilding Weekend held at Hooke Farm in June 2023. There will be other videos about the event posted on my Youtube Channel.

There were talks, tours, and stalls as well as things to buy and things to eat – lunches, cakes, cream teas, coffee, and homemade elderflower cordial. The Weekend was sponsored by Clipper Teas / Ecotone and supported by the National Garden Scheme (NGS). Thank you.

We were also promoting Operation Future Hope and their crowdfunding campaign to ‘Rewild Britain’s Schools’. Click here to go to support them – they’re still able to triple any donations you might make.

Our dry stone bat egg is made from waste from our yard it has a bat cave inside

Our small land-holding in West Dorset has been transformed into a wildlife and wildflower haven. Each year we see more species appearing from hedgehogs to hares, numerous types of bees to bats and barn owls. This year we found the skin of a grass snake in our wetland and pond area. Newts, frogs, and toads are abundant. And anyone coming to the Wilding Weekend was able to see the myriad of moths that had been trapped the night before and were on display. We also organised a bat tour on the Saturday night and saw some swirling and swooping around our bat egg!

As well as the wildlife we had experts and enthusiasts, including representatives from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, The Great Big Dorset Hedge, West Dorset Wilding, The Dorset Mammal Group, The Dorset Bat Group, The Dorset Wildlife Trust, Real Wild Estates and Bee Happy Plants and Seeds.

A small selection of photos from the weekend:

Hattie Lockwood & Monty Bryant ran the cake stall
Kate Rawles cycled 8,000 miles on a bamboo bike in the Andes – supporting biodiversity. She’s with Lesley Malpas, director of Operation Future Hope
Sarah Holdsworth – Bee Happy Plants & Seeds – explains why we should be wary of cultivars – some of them ‘might as well be plastic’ she says because they have no pollen.
My wonderfully supportive husband, Jamie Macdonald, guided several tours around the site –
in his kilt but not on the bike!
Di Gallagher & Tricia Walsh were selling books about wilding-related topics –
supplied by Bridport Book Shop
Me – Julia Hailes – sitting in our wildflower meadow during the Wilding Weekend.
Adam Gale is Head of Wilding at Hooke and Rachael Moss is our long-term gardener – she’s responsible for the very productive vegetable garden that’s full of flowers!
Tours started in the water meadow – on the sweet track. The design was taken from medieval times when they used these raised wooden paths across the Somerset levels.
Andrew George, from Wessex Wilding, was responsible for many of the
quirky ideas at Hooke, including the chicken house.
The yard at Hooke was great for stalls and speakers
The bunting was supplied by Bushbells, who have it made from off-cuts used to make their gorgeous kikoy clothes. Profits go towards building and running schools in Kenya.

One thought on “Our Wilding Weekend Was Wonderful! (Jun23)

  1. Pingback: Wilding Weekend 2024 (Updated Apr24) – Julia Hailes MBE

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